Surprisingly strong, useful mid-range makes the engine feel larger than it is.
Light and agile, this is as sport-focussed as a motorcycle can get.
But it doesn’t sacrifice day-to-day utility in favor of laser-like sport focus. If you can only afford one bike and want a sportbike, this would be a solid option. It’s as at home splitting tight city traffic as it is dragging knee on The Snake.
Despite rubber lines and a non-radial master cylinder, the brakes don’t fade and deliver strong stopping power.
The headlight, despite the de-spec from projector to reflector, is very bright, providing excellent nighttime illumination and waking up dozy automotive drivers.
The tall windscreen provides excellent wind protection. There’s a lesser need to fit a taller item than on other 600s, but you will still probably need to.
The entire package is cohesive and flatters your riding. Whether you’re an expert looking for the sharpest tool in the box or a newer rider looking to upgrade from a 650 twin or similar to your first full-on sportbike, the GSX-R600 is a solid option.
Unlike the Triumph or the Kawasaki, the GSX-R lacks a defining USP. It’s not a triple, it doesn’t wear Ohlins or genuine Brembo brakes or come equipped with TC and ABS. It’s just an inline-four. One which, on paper, is just too similar to its rivals to stand out.
“Brembo” brake calipers add bling, but don’t be confused, they’re not as good as the Monoblocs on the Triumph.
The Gixxer image is just plain bad. Friends will ask, “Really?” Cops will point their radar guns at you. It’s as if you gain a helmet mohawk every time you climb on it.
The standard-fit Bridgestone BT-016s are not good. They don’t work in the wet or in temperatures below about 60 degrees. At all. In dry, warm conditions they’re sportbike tires, but not even particularly good ones. We’d love to see Suzuki fit high quality Dunlop or Pirellis as standard. This is an awesome sportbike, massively held back by cheap tires.
The GSX-R600 costs $11,699 in 2014. A competitive price, but no one’s paying cash for a Suzuki. You buy one because they have the best 0% APR deal in the business. If you have a job, putting one of these in your garage is as easy as it gets.
As good as a sportbike gets, with low running costs, generous financing and silly levels of performance. That’s the winning formula that has historically made these things so popular. But, that popularity is also the GSX-Rs biggest problem. Riding one simply does not bring the same cache as does riding a Triumph or any similar bike which comes in solid colors and without legions of squids tarnishing its image.
RideApart Rating: 8/10
Helmet: AGV Grid ($360, Highly Recommended)
Leathers: Dainese Laguna Seca Pro ($1,000, Highly Recommended)
Boots: Dainese Axial Pro In ($500, Highly Recommended)
Gloves: Dainese Full Metal Pro Valentino Rossi Replica ($400, Recommended)